This is the time of year when people will use their credit cards to the maximum. I recently heard a person make reference to the fact that she had to purchase gifts for all of her family members and friends, but in the same breath expressed concern about next month’s bills. She thought, “Well if I use my credit card, the bill will not come until next month and by then I may have all of my bills paid.”
A credit card can be a blessing if used properly, but it can become a weapon of mass destruction if used improperly. This is the time of year that lots of folk lose their minds and just go crazy with their credit cards. Be careful, for it can be the trick of the devil. It is very easy to pull it out and insert it in the machine after a purchase, but the true test comes when the bill with a high interest rate comes back to haunt you. Now if you are in a position to use that card because you have the cash to back it up, go for it. I only make the above statement because of cases I am familiar with regarding hardships caused by credit card abuse.
Christmas is almost here and many of us are skirring around to find those gifts for family members and friends. Let’s not forget the real reason for the season. Believe me, family members and friends won’t love you any less if you are not financially able to give them a gift. Put that card back in your wallet if you are going to be stretched and stressed.
There are indeed some advantages to using credit cards, but there are disadvantages also. I will be the first to say that it sure is convenient to use. It was not so long ago that my oldest daughter convinced me to get a debit or credit card. She assured me I would be well satisfied. I must confess that it has been a blessing. Just think about traveling without cash and having the ability to track spending is a plus. Being able to earn cash back points, flyer miles, and other perks by making purchases with your card and paying it off at the end of the month is an advantage.
Using a credit card can definitely make life simpler and easier, but it can also cause misery and pain if not used wisely.
Romans 13:8 says, “Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another.” Paul’s primary concern is not with money in this scripture. He is more concerned about us loving people, including our neighbors and enemies. Additionally, let’s not interpret this verse to mean that Christians should not borrow money. I believe the point in it all is to live a life where we are not in constant dependency on borrowing.
Proverbs 22:7 reads, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” The point is for us not to allow a credit card or any other agencies hold us hostage because of a debt. The danger is when we put our trust and confidence in a credit card or a lender instead of Christ. If we trust in the Holy Spirit, He will give us the wisdom to use or not use our credit cards foolishly. Take time to pray sometime before you use that piece of plastic.
A simple recommendation to all of us is to avoid long-term debt. The best advice anyone can give regarding the use of a credit card is this: If we incur charges on our credit card, stop using it until it has been paid off. If at all possible, let our home mortgage be the only long-term debt we have.
As I do pre-marital counseling with couples, I always advise them to create an emergency savings account. Just imagine putting just a little bit into your savings account every payday. In time, you will accrue thousands of dollars without being pressured if you continue to be consistent in doing so.
I close with Proverbs 21:20: “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up.” Let’s not become dependent on our credit cards.
Again, I am not a financial advisor, but I am sharing what I believe God has placed on my heart for such a time as this. I hope you will be able to have a very Merry and debt free Christmas!
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor